I don’t know what it is about becoming a mom, but suddenly it seems that everyone feels entitled to tell women what to do. I’ve had complete strangers tell me that I needed to put a hat on my baby, or socks, or to not bundle her up so much. Excuse me, but don’t you think her um, MOTHER would know what she needs?
At the moment, Harley is five months old. She is exclusively breast fed and gloriously chubby. I mean, really chubby. She even has fat rolls at her wrists and her ankles. Her growth has continued to impress the sister when I take her to get weighed, and she is absolutely thriving. It is an incredible feeling for me – breast feeding has done so well for her. She went from being a tiny little preemie, to being a healthy chunky monkey. I am so grateful to be able to provide for her, to be able to give her the best possible food, and to be setting her up for a future of fewer allergies, illnesses and other issues. However, plenty of people have other opinions.
Now that Harley is 5 months old, people are asking me when I’m starting solids. In fact, some people are telling me that I should be starting them now. With advice ranging from starting on cereals to outright stopping all breastfeeding, I’m getting a whole bunch of totally unsolicited advice and input. It’s even making me a bit worried about leaving the room when Harley is around some people – will they just give her food without my permission?
Are people actually so stupid to think that I haven’t thought about solids? Do they think I just forgot to start giving her food? I have done a ton of research. I plan on doing baby-led weaning once Harley is old enough and showing the necessary signs. I know the types of foods I want her to experience first, and the general sequence in which I’d like to try and introduce them. I also know that food is for fun while she’s under a year old, and that she really is getting enough nutrition from the breast. Plus, the boob is amazing for calming her and bonding, beyond simple food.
Who does anyone think they are to tell me how to feed my child? It’s just so bizarre to me. I’ve chatted to some friends about when they introduced solids, or planned to, but never in a judgemental way – it’s just nice to share experiences and information. But that’s not what people are doing. Other people seem convinced that they know what’s best for my baby. Sorry, those decisions, and every other decision about Harley’s well being until she’s old enough to make choices for herself, are up to me and Dean. No one else.
And Dean and I have talked about the breast feeding thing. He misses having my boobs for his entertainment, and often expresses his jealousy to Harley that she gets to spend so much time sucking on me. But it’s all in good fun and he knows how important it is to me to give her the best possible start in life, and he sees how she is thriving on the food I make for her. At a certain point, I’m sure that she and I will be done with the nursing journey – I’ll want my body back and she’ll be happy to eat grown up food. But until then, this is the journey that we’re on together, and it is the best possible thing. It’s just such a shame that there are people who aren’t supportive of nursing mothers out there.
So, if you see a mom nursing her baby, maybe think twice before you start the solids conversation with her. She knows that solid food exists. Perhaps you’ll be more helpful by just telling her that she’s doing a great job instead.